Thu | May 24, 2018

JPS bureaucracy incomprehensible

Published:Saturday | August 30, 2014 | 12:00 AM


When we speak of how cumbersome Jamaica's business climate is, we must not just think of local entrepreneurs and potential foreign investors. They do not deserve more or less than the ordinary Jamaican who has to wait in long lines, provide all kinds of references, show TRN cards and driver's licences (even though you can't get the latter without the former), deal with often rude or 'standoff-ish' employees and generally lose time at work to do simple tasks.

Recently, I moved into a new place and I had to reconnect and transfer the electricity service into my name. I was given a letter of introduction from the landlord and had my ID and other documents in order. The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) told me that I also needed proof that the landlord owned the premises in the form of a certified copy of the title, or attorney's letter. The realtor did not know this, because apparently it is a new stipulation.


Thankfully, my landlord was able to send those to me quickly. I went to JPS and got through. However, I am quite annoyed with how difficult it is for ordinary Jamaicans to conduct business. I had a similar experience with my bank of 15 years. All I needed to do was get an online account attached to my savings account. I had to get two references, provide proof of address, proof of income, etc, as if I were opening a new account. Much of this is actually nonsensical. The JPS case is incomprehensible. Its contract is with me; furthermore why would any rational person falsify documents to put herself at expense? (Would I falsify documents so that I could pay a bill?) And, why does it matter to JPS as long as the bill is paid? Furthermore, if I, and my landlord were committing fraud, no court of law would ever blame JPS. We are the ones who would be charged.

Time is money, and in a country that has a serious economic problem, we need to seriously address the ways in which time wastage translates to monetary wastage.